Terranea Chef’s Table Dinner

DSC_0850Last month, I experienced a Chef’s Table Spring’s Bounty Themed evening featuring Justin Winery and benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Located on the patio of one of Terranea’s villas atop a bluff on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, it was an intimate and interactive farm-to-Terranea communal dining experience with a seasonally-themed menu, celebrating locally and sustainably grown and foraged ingredients found in Chef Bernard’s garden and a nearby garden in Palos Verdes.

The Spring’s Bounty menu began with a cocktail or glass of Justin wine with a hors d’oeuvres reception. Chef David Tarrin prepared Japanese confit of chicken Yakitori; pepper crusted toro Nicoise with olive tapenade and a crisp sunchoke. My favorite were the baby hard boiled quail eggs. There were exquisite truffle tater tots, lumpia of Kobe beef and langoustine with a sweet chili garlic sauce. I sipped a cool glass of Justin Sauvignon Blanc (Paso Robles) offering an essence of DSC_0877apple and lemon pie.

Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra prepared the first course of smoked spring lamb tartlet and a small glass of first crop snap peas chilled soup.

This dish was followed by swordfish paillard prepared by Terranea Chef Andrew Vaughan.

We finished the meal with a beautifully displayed Meyer lemon panna cotta with candied pineapple and sea salt roasted pistachios.

Additional dates for the bi-monthly Chef’s Table Dinner Series include: DSC_0917Thursday, June 11 with a Peninsula Harvest theme and wines from Villa Oneiro in Rolling Hills. The charity that will benefit from this dinner is the Peninsula Committee Children’s Hospital.

On Thursday, August 13 the Chef’s Dinner theme is honey bees. Summerland Winery will be enlightening guests with their wines and pouring with each course. Proceeds from this dinner will benefit the American Red Cross.

On October 29th the wine harvest theme offer dishes from the wine regions paired with Catalina View wines. This dinner’s proceeds will go to Meals On Wheels.

The last dinner of 2015 is on Thursday, December 3 offering winter harvest traditions. Margerum Wines from Santa Barbara will pourDSC_0836 some of their signature favorites. Proceeds will be benefit City of Hope.

Tickets for this special multi-course dinner paired with wines is $225 per person and must be purchased in advance. Guests who purchase two tickets will receive a complimentary ocean view room for the night of the event.

A package of four dinners is available for advance purchase at a special rate of $995. Guests must be 21+ years to attend. To learn more, go to http://www.terrenea.com. 100 Terranea Way, (310)265-2800.

Trivia Night at 3 Square Cafe

IMG_3647Sitting on the patio at 3 Square Cafe on Abbot Kinney in Venice on a Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. we received a buzzer and were asked for our team name. Since we were newbies to Trivia Night, we had no idea how much fun locals have at 3 Square Cafe while biting into a gourmet burger, nibbling on fries and poking a fork into a salad.

We ordered some German beers and glass of Rose wine before ordering a variety of burgers. I had the Quinoa Burger with a dab of Romesco Sauce, sautéed Spinach and sautéed Red Bell Peppers on a soft Potato Bun. It was a fried patty and good.

The double Salmon Burger was terrific with a salmon filet and gravlax, cucumber yogurt salad and mayo on a Rockenwagner Brioche Bun.

My dad ordered the Pretzel Burger with house-ground beef, melted Swiss, caramelized onions, lettuce and tomato on a Pretzel Knot bun. He loved it.

They also have a chicken burger on a pumpernickel bun, lamb-feta burger on a croissant bun, Kobe sliders and a mushroom burger on an English muffin bun.

Brian our server was friendly and busy as the cafe filled up with families and friends eager to get the game started. By 7:45 we were hitting our buzzers and answering a variety of interesting trivia questions about television shows, history and geography.

Since our team won, we were given two Rockenwagner mini pies as a prize to take home. It was great fun and we will be back again on a Saturday night for burger and trivia!

Take away Gjusta in Venice

IMG_3636_2Our first impression of Gjusta was Alton the affable guard helping us find a place to park in the parking lot.

Next was a pastry chef bringing out a tray of little decadent blackberry pies. WOW!

I’ve heard great things about Gjusta’s adorning sister Gjelina on Abbot Kinney. Since it is almost impossible to secure a table without reservations, we visited the next best thing – Gjusta.

Well, it’s hard to secure a table here too, because they have no tables. There is a juice and coffee counter where diners stand while eating a freshly made gourmet sandwich or poking a fork into a colorful vegetable salad, yet no stools for sitting.

Outside you are lucky if you can snag a low wooden bench or milk crate to sit near the parking lot.

The take-away opened October 29 in Venice on Sunset Avenue, just a block from Rose Avenue.

Walking in you notice a long display case filled with the most wonderful bakery items that include little blackberry tarts, slices of nectarine pie, croissants, loaves of fresh bread, smoothies in small plastic cups filled with kale and avocado or banana and hemp.

Cooked meat rests in baking dishes on the counter of the open kitchen ready to be sliced for made to order meaty sandwiches. There is a glassIMG_3638_2 case filled with rainbow colored fresh salads and poofy pot pies in an array of flavors.

Right now they just serve breakfast and lunch, however they are longing to get approval from the city to extend their hours with a liquor license and large patio with communal seating.

They actually have an extensive menu that includes beverages – coffee, tea, lemonade, steamed nut milk with coconut oil, daily fresh squeezed juice.

Pastries include buttery croissants, scones, slices of carrot cake, chocolate olive oil cake, brownies, fennel and honey panna cotta and so much more with prices from $3 to $7.

Breakfast is served all day with multigrain porridge waffles, quiche, frittata, grain and mushroom bowls, smoked fish and eggs, baked eggs and anchovy toast priced from $6.50 for a breakfast sandwich to $15 for a Spring vegetable breakfast with a fried egg and toast.

There are smoked fish and Bialys, mini toasts, sandwiches, Rotisserie plates, Pot pies that include chicken and root vegetables, pork shoulder and green chip and mixed vegetable curry from $10 to $13.

Lighter fare includes a variety of soups and deli salads. The prices are comparable with Venice and Santa Monica – $7 for a small smoothie, $12 for a vegetarian sandwich.

This is a great place to pick up some delicious items to pack for a picnic and take to the beach or grab a milk crate and sit outside under a tree with others. Don’t be surprised to see a celebrity or two. The actor Tim Robbins was there the day I dined and said “hello” to anyone who looked up and noticed him. There are so many people at Gjusta, that even Tim Robbins blends in with the crowd.

Service – ** Location – ** Quality of food – **** Parking – ** Experience – *** 320 Sunset Ave., Los Angeles, CA

The New Pistachio Diet

Researchers have discovered that eating pistachios provides fiber, protein, potassium, and may improve blood pressure.

Nutrition-Power-Main2-620x349Here are 7 health benefits:

1. Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free and sodium-free food that contains 13 grams of fat per serving, the majority of which (11.5 grams) comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fat contributes only 1.5 grams per serving.

2. One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (290mg, 8% of the Daily Value) as a half of a large banana (250 mg, 7% of the Daily Value) and 3 grams of filling fiber.

3. Removing nuts from their shell help you eat slower and manage how many nuts you can eat, rather than grabbing a handful of nuts out of their shell and plopping them in your mouth.

4. People that ate pistachios lost weight and improved their triglyceride levels (blood fats).

5. Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie nuts with only 160 calories in a single ounce, which is about 49 pistachios.Heart-Health-620x349

6. The pistachio nut is filled with fiber and protein which helps consumers feel full and satisfied.

7. A study showed that those who eat pistachios have seen improved measures of cardiovascular health, compared to those who didn’t eat pistachios. Pistachios promote healthy hearts, especially in people prone to type 2 diabetes.

For recipes and more information on the tasty Pistachio, go to


Cheryl Forberg – Award Winning Chef For NBC’s The Biggest Loser Has A New Book – A Simple Guide to Losing BIG

IMG_3526I met Cheryl Forberg at Chi Spacca in Los Angeles for lunch with James Beard Winner Nancy Silverton and the American Pistachio Growers.

She shared with me that she has been on the NBC’s hit television show, The Biggest Loser for 15 seasons.

It all started at UCLA, when a colleague was invited to participate in a pilot television show to help obsess people learn how to lose weight with proper nutrition and exercise. Her friend didn’t take the offer, yet recommended Forberg for the job.

As an Registered Dietician she co-writes the eating plan for the show and shares cooking tips with the contestants to help them transform their bodies, health and life.

Forberg has written or contributed to all the New York Times bestselling “Biggest Loser” books. She recently wrote – A Small Guide to Losing Big.

It’s an easy-to-read book with easy weight loss basics, nutrition and fitness tips and two week menus with 25 recipes to get you started.

Her chapters include “How Many Calories Do I (really) Need?” “Emotional Eating” “When and What Can I Eat” and “How to stock your kitchen.”

Forberg identifies why Americans have earned the top ranking among obese nations and what you can do to start living a healthier life.

10 Mother’s Day Venues in So Cal

Don’t let Mom cook this Sunday. Instead take her out to one of these fun dining spots. Some offer complimentary champagne and others give Mom a special gift after her meal. All will pamper Mom and help make her special day memorable.

Botega-Louie-300x1991. Downtown LA

Diners can enjoy Bottega Louie’s lobster hash, salmon mille-feuille and lemon ricotta pancakes on Mother’s Day, and children can enjoy Belgian waffles, French toast and a farmer’s market breakfast. The brunch menu includes pizzas, salads, sandwiches and small plates. Beignets, macaroons, éclairs, verrines and tartlets are served for desert. Sunday brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 700 S. Grand St. (213)802-1470.

2. Moms Love Terrine

IMG_0533Moms will enjoy chef Kris Morningstar’s Mother’s Day brunch pain perdu with vanilla-battered French toast and sea salt caramel frosting at Terrine. His signature frisée aux lardons will also be offered, with Benton’s bacon, a slow-cooked egg and mustard vinaigrette, as well as spicy fried chicken and grits with scallions and maple, and eggs in Purgatory with spicy tomato sauce, fennel pollen, basil, pecorino and crostini. Glasses of bubbly and cocktails are available from the bar. 8265 Beverly Blvd. (323)746-5130.

DSC_09883. FIG & OLIVE Melrose Place

West Hollywood’s olive oil oasis, FIG & OLIVE, will offer seasonally-driven, three-course prix fixe Mother’s Day brunch menus for $40, and dinner for $52 per person. FIG & OLIVE’s signature dishes embody executive chef Pascal Lorange’s passion for olive oils and cuisine from the Mediterranean region. Each meal begins with a taste of three distinct extra virgin olive oils served with freshly baked rosemary olive oil bread. 8490 Melrose Place. (310)360-9100.

4. Montage Beverly Hills

Treat mom to an afternoon tea service at Parq Bar with soothing music and artisan tea in hand-painted china designed by porcelain artist, Lissi Kaplan. The tea includes house-made small bites and decadent desserts. Orange creamsicle profiteroles, strawberries and cream, whoopie pies, pink velvet cupcakes with rose water butter cream and scones will be served. The afternoon tea is $75 per adult; $85 for the Royal Tea, which includes Ruinart champagne. A special Afternoon Tea for younger guests is also offered for $38, and includes champagne-
IMG_0823inspired “mocktails.”

Additionally, the Rooftop Grill will serve a classic Sunday brunch and á la carte Mother’s Day specials in a setting with sweeping views of the city and the Hollywood Hills. Guests can enjoy an interactive bloody Mary bar for $30 per person, with unlimited bloody Marys and bottomless mimosas and bellinis. The cocktails and beverages are offered tableside for $25 per person. 225 N. Canon Drive. (310)860-7990.

5. Century City – RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen

RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen is inviting moms to indulge in a four-course feast from the Far East on Mother’s Day inspired by chef Mohan Ismail. The chef will serve meals that his mother used to make at home in Singapore. The Mother’s Day feast is $58 per guest for parties of two or more. Hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. (310)552-9988.

Chef-Ensault-224x3006. Church & State
Church & State is celebrating Parisian moms with a Fête des Meres Sunday supper in the Arts District, downtown. Chef Tony Esnault will prepare a prix fixe menu utilizing organic and compassionately raised ingredients, with the option of special wine pairings. Dinner is available from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 1850 Industrial St., #100. (213)405-1434.

7. Faith & Flower – Downtown

Faith & Flower chef Michael Hung is preparing a special brunch on Mother’s Day, with classic omelets with caviar and fine herbs;IMG_0764 whole branzino baked in parchment with snow peas, ginger and spring onion; and grilled rib-eye and eggs with green garlic and béarnaise. The regular brunch menu is also available. Drink specials are also available, including the Faith’s Mimosa with Peche de Vigne, fresh orange and sparkling rosé. 705 W. 9th St. (213)239-0642.

8. Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
Families can enjoy an elegant Mother’s Day dining experience at Fogo de Chão in Beverly Hills and downtown Los Angeles. Diners will enjoy a culinary journey through southern Brazil with fire-roasted meats carved by gaucho chefs, and a colorful gourmet Market Table with fresh vegetables, hot side dishes, charcuterie selections, smoked salmon and seasonal salads such as watermelon, feta and cucumber salad. Guests can also try the newly-introduced lighter seafood selection including mango Chilean sea bass. Fogo de Chão welcomes families of all sizes on Mother’s Day, with extended hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Meals for children 6 and under are complimentary, and children 7-12 dine for half price. Additionally, moms will receive a dining card for a complimentary lunch or dinner on their next visit. 800 S. Figueroa St., (213)228-4300; 133 N. La Cienega Blvd., (310)289-7755.

9. Los Feliz – Tam O’Shanter and Burke Williams

IMG_0903Mother’s Day brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Tam O’Shanter, and dinner is served from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Custom bloody Marys and fresh pastries will be offered, as well as dishes of rarebit, smoked chicken soup, brioche French toast, salmon “scrabble”, spring quiche and lobster filet Oscar. Additionally, Tam O’Shanter’s classic green eggs & ham is available, with two poached eggs, buttermilk biscuits, thinly sliced prosciutto, herbed hollandaise and brunch potatoes. Moms can enter a drawing for a Burke Williams gift card. 2980 Los Feliz Blvd. (323)664-0228.

10. Tipple & Brine

Executive chef Marc Johnson of Tipple & Brine is serving a variety of dishes on Mother’s Day that include seared calamari salad and kale salad with manchego, and salmon tartare. The salads can be paired with signature cocktails from bar manager A.J. Korchak, such as Orange Blossoms crafted with Beefeater gin. Tipple & Brine’s Mother’s Day hours are from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; the bar remains open until midnight.  4633 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818)528-2550.

Parts of this article was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea Newspaper.

10 New Culinary Choices at The Hollywood Bowl for this Summer 2015


Walking onto the stage of the Hollywood Bowl and looking out to the box seats all the way up to the $1 seats is a “pinch me” moment. I was invited by the wonderful LA Phil and Patina Group P.R. team to experience a multitude of dining options served at the historic Hollywood Bowl.

Back for its 16th season, Patina Restaurant Group (PRG) Chef and Founder Joachim Splichal, in collaboration with West Coast Culinary Director Gregg Wiele, offers new menus at all the unique dining venues within the Bowl. Here are 10 new culinary additions at the Bowl –

1. Organic and Vegan Cuisine. This year Patina Restaurant Group has partnered with Café Gratitude and sister restaurant Gracias Madre to provide all-organic menus at Market Cafés, Rooftop Grill, The Wine Bar, and Staccato. The new plant-based dishes include raw pesto kelp noodles, raw tiramisu, and a coconut bacon sandwich. The vegan BLT is made with coconut bacon, tomato, lettuce, onion, chipotle cashew aioli, whole wheat tortilla, side mixed green salad, and a goji-chipotle dressing. They also offer a Raw Pesto Kelp Noodles, basil hempseed pesto, cashew ricotta, heirloom cherry tomatoes, green and Kalamata olives, arugula, Brazil nut parmesan and chopped basil.

There is a Macrobiotic Bowl offers sea palm, shredded kale, sprouted probiotic rice, kimchi, shredded carrots, shredded beets, teriyaki IMG_3286almonds and garlic tahini dressing.

A vegan dessert is a Tiramisu cake made with date paste, coconut oil, Himalayan salt, vanilla, almond flour, almond milk, espresso and coconut oil. The filling is Irish moss, almond milk, date paste, cacao powder, vanilla, salt, lecithin, coconut oil and agave. The whipped cream is made of cashews, coconut milk, agave, Himalayan salt and coconut oil.

There is also a selection of Cold-Pressed Juice by Café Gratitude with a Complete kale, cucumber, apple, celery, lemon, ginger. There is a Divine juice with apple, beet, lemon and ginger and Passionate with orange, ginger and carrot.

2. Ray’s & Stark Bar’s is offering their popular bottled water program featuring eight carefully curated domestic and international varietals personally selected by the company’s, and America’s only, certified water sommelier Martin Riese. These waters offer higher TDS (Total Dissolved Solid), with more minerals and health benefits than many bottled waters.

IMG_33753. The Boxes have been renovated with yellow Alaskan cedar wood on the walls and floor. There are two types of new seats in the box area. There are the stylish Garden and Terrace Box chair and a very comfortable padded Pool Circle chair.

Box Seat Ticket Holders are tended to by a dedicated wait staff, trained in the Patina Restaurant Group standard of attentive and personalized service, a wide selection of 3-course chef menus and a la carte offerings. There is a Spa Menu with Rainbow cauliflower “couscous”, Scarborough Farm teenie greens, Green Goddess emulsion and Adam’s Ranch unfiltered olive oil. Also, grilled Atlantic salmon with Brentwood Farm sweet corn, roasted French breakfast radish, lacinato kale and salsa verde.

Box Seat ticket holder can order edible centerpieces that includes Harry’s Berries—2 lbs. of locally grown strawberries served with raw dipping sugar; Farmers Market Crudités from local Farmers markets served with hummus and pumpernickel; Caprese with fresh bocconcini mozzarella and toy box tomatoes.

Dining for Two in the box offers an indulgent roasted Rib-Eye- 18 oz steak grilled over mesquite and served with sliced heirloom tomatoes, summer green beans and herb chimichurri. Also a whole rotisserie chicken- 3 lbs free range chicken served with wild arugula, grilled asparagus, roasted potatoes and garlic aioli.

4. “Neighborhood Take-Out”- designed to honor the unique neighborhoods flavors of Los Angeles.Enjoy South East Asia with Filipino BBQ chicken skewers, Thai green papaya salad, lemongrass shrimp glass noodles and Jasmine scented rice. The Mediterranean Kabobs are herb marinated beef kabobs, sumac grilled vegetables, tabbouleh, pickled turnip salad, pita and garlic butter.

Craving Chinatown cuisine with Char siu roast pork, garlic noodles and dim sum dumplings or Chinese chicken salad with wok’ed vegetables. How about Southern Comfort—honey stung fried chicken (6 pcs), creamy coleslaw or Smokey Jo’s baby back ribs, mac & cheese and warm glazed cinnamon rolls.

5. The Nishi Sushi Bar at Market Café West has an onsite sushi bar prepared byChef Travis Kamiyama prepares fresh sushi and IMG_3380Japanese delicacies daily. Order the Kamiyama Premier Platter with Rainbow roll (8 pcs), salmon lovers roll (8 pcs), dragon roll (8 pcs), spicy tuna roll (8 pcs), California roll (8 pcs), spicy crispy shrimp (8 pcs), tuna tataki (8 pcs), veggie roll (8 pcs).

The SAN Jyubako Box serves one person with a Seaweed salad and assortment of Japanese side dishes Spicy tuna roll with wasabi and gary; 5 pcs assorted sashimi with tsuma and shiso leaf; Albacore tataki salad with yuzu wasabi dressing; Teriyaki hanger steak with Japanese rice and sesame seeds. Finish with Summer strawberries and lychee.

6. Full service Steakhouse at Rooftop Grill, inspired by PRG’s acclaimed Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse. The Rooftop Grill provides the best cuts of meats in an al fresco setting overlooking the landmark music venue. Dishes include Crab Louis salad; Ahi tuna tower; Rib-Eye, Filet Mignon and Flat Iron Steak with add-on selections include “Oscar style” and foie gras butter. They also prepare a Citrus marinated half-chicken, yuzu pico de gallo; San Luis chicken sausage and a gooey cast iron chocolate chunk cookie, caramel with campfire marshmallow.

7. Staccato is the to-go spot for gourmet international street food before ticket holders head to their seats. There is a “Pool” Burger- 1 lbs. angus burger stuffed with foie gras, candied bacon, gruyére cheese, baby arugula, black truffle aioli. The Thai chicken sausage is served with pickled green papaya, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic aioli. Korean short rib Hollywood “Bowl” with jasmine rice, scallions, grilled shishito peppers and a chocolate “Moon Pie” with caramel dipping sauce.

IMG_32888. The Wine Bar is an al fresco wine bar and lounge offers a relaxed atmosphere with variety of craft beer, curated wine, soju cocktails, and unique small bites and large plates. Plates include Wasabi tempura fried squid, Sriracha sabayon; Charred octopus, heirloom rice, and salsa verde; Duck foie gras terrine, crème fraîche, salted dulce de leche, baguette; Steamed fresh mussels and clams, fennel, romesco; Crispy pork belly sliders, Hawaiian bread and jalapeño compote; Wine Bar grilled cheese, fig jam, fromage d’Affinois, fried sage; Duck confit tortellini, fresh peas, fine herbs and Lamb “shawarma”, pita chips, hummus and goat cheese.

9. For more casual fare, Market Café East and West is an ideal place to pick up last-minute food items prior to each performance with a selection of salads, wraps, cheese, wine, and assorted sweet treats.

10. Picnic Baskets are for those who want to arrive to the Bowl stress free without the hassle of bringing a meal. The picnic baskets IMG_3379can be ordered online prior to arrival. Order one of more of the following:

Dandelion (serves two) with Honey stung golden fried chicken (8) with warm glazed cinnamon rolls (2) Country style potato salad, Organic baby mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette and Summer strawberries with vanilla cream.

Gracias Madre Vegan Picnic Basket (serves two) Tempeh “chorizo” torta (2) with black beans, avocado, pico de gallo, pickled cabbage, cashew creme. House made tortilla chips with Guacamole and Roasted tomato salsa. Pumpkin seed Caesar salad with cashew Caesar dressing.
Finish with a gluten-free fudge brownie with cinnamon chocolate sauce.

Patina Restaurant Group provides an online ordering site to simplify the process. Guests can order at http://www.patinagroup.com/bowl.

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